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« Obama a Plagiarist? No, He Just Lacks Originality (Updated) | Main | TPM's Josh Marshall Gets Polk Award »

February 19, 2008

Comments

Adam

Ayers is pure guilt-by-association:
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2008/02/obamas_weatherman_connection.html

Ditto for Khalidi; that's plain from LCJ's posts:
http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/02/18/more-on-rashid-khalidi-and-the-risks-for-obama/

That post is 98% Khalidi-bashing and 2% guilt-by-association. The extent of these things is that Obama has met these people, and they have given him money. That's all we have, and likely all we will ever have.

As for Rezko - to quote bad pop lyrics, we've been down that road more than twice.

As I have said before, nobody should assume that Obama won't face negative ads. He will. But the statement "...unlike the attacks on Dukakis, Cleland, and Kerry, the ammunition that Obama has provided to his political foes is significant and deadly" is simply unsupportable at this time. He will be attacked because everyone can be attacked. Not because (as far as everything we've seen has shown) the attacks have any real substance.

Obama _is_ being vetted, right before our eyes. And he's holding up to it quite well. Given that one of his signature issues is ethics reform, it's not an enormous surprise. As politicians go, he's pretty clean. Not magically clean, but pretty clean. Again, none of these accusations have come up with anything resembling a smoking gun. These latest accusations barely rise to the level of smoking matchsticks.

This idea that Obama is being treated with kid gloves and nobody is printing negative stuff about him is SO three weeks ago. Once he became the presumptive frontrunner, it became cool to attack him. Why, just in the last two days, Obama has been accused of "sneaking" to a "secret" meeting and plagirizing a speech. This despite his campaign never denying the meeting, and Obama himself admitting that he consulted with the original author before he made the speech. (The Clinton campaign parroted the speech accusation - not their proudest moment.) And of course, this all runs on the canvas of Obama-the-dreamer-who-has-no-practical-ideas-and-has-never-done-anything-of-note.

Again, if your goal in posting this stuff is to dispel the myth of an attack-proof Obama, then I'm with you. If your goal is to show that Obama is especially vulnerable to attack, or even appears to be especially vulnerable, then I respectfully disagree.

D. Cupples

Hi Adam,

I didn't write this post but figured it'd be ok if I comment. How are you?

I agree that Obama is NOW being vetted, but it started only over the last few weeks. It will take some time, so I don't view it as "so three weeks ago."

I posted about the "secret" meeting: I don't think the media "accused" him of it, because reports mentioned that Hillary also had a secret meeting w/Edwards (one that news helicopters didn't catch). http://bucknakedpolitics.typepad.com/buck_naked_politics/2008/02/obamas-secret-m.html

RE: "plagiarism," I don't think he committed that. He merely heavily borrowed phrasing and structure from a friend who gave him permission.

Unfortunately, by not giving attribution, he did leave himself open to legitimate questions, but I doubt it'll have a huge effect on his campaign. I blame that mess largely on the media, though it would have been easy for Obama to preclude the questions entirely merely by saying, "As a friend of mine once pointed out....". I posted on that, too: http://bucknakedpolitics.typepad.com/buck_naked_politics/2008/02/obama-a-plagiar.html

I further agree that the Ayres and Khalidi business is guilt by association. The Rove machine will do nasty things with those associations, but what can we do about it?

As for Rezko, I've seen NO evidence that Obama broke laws, but that's not the only question in a presidential campaign. We have a candidate that the media (and to some extent the campaign) has exalted for some weeks as THE idealist, THE Change Candidate, and as anti-politics-as-usual .

If Obama was playing "politics as usual" with respect to his Rezko relationship (even if all actions were legal), that calls into question Obama's credibility as THE anti-politics-as-usual candidate -- especially given that Obama has repeatedly stated that his opponent is into politics-as-usual to a filthy degree.

Glass houses and stones....

Adam

Hi, doing well here.

On Rovian attacks - nothing can really be done about it, except to attempt to defuse the stuff in advance by putting everything out in the open. But regardless of that, Obama, or Clinton, will be attacked about things like Ayres and Khalidi. It is what it is.

You're right that Obama was not under this sort of intense focus three weeks ago. This is a function of his new "frontrunner" status, combined with the boredom of the media and the search for stories. I think that as of three weeks ago, he had probably received more vetting than we had seen evidence of. Because he wasn't the frontrunner and there was a lack of juicy scandals, little was made of it.

The media did accuse him of "sneaking", whatever that means. Here's the sidebar I read in the local paper:
http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_8291026
That's probably a wire report that got printed in dozens of papers. Maybe they accused Hillary of "sneaking" too. My guess is that this is a vindictive story written by beat reporters who resent the candidate doing something unannounced and not bringing them along. It's just a lame story. No real bias here, just media lowering themselves to tabloid level.

The plagiarism thing is simply a non-issue, as multiple independent analyses have pointed out. The "war room" blog on Salon's front page does a good job addressing it. I mean, it's not like we thought that Obama writes all of his own material, and the guy gave him the thumbs up to use it. It's a little bit embarrasing that the Clinton campaign tried to run with this, IMHO.

I fully agree that Obama's attempt to corner the market on change is just a political trick/tactic, and he deserves whatever criticism that draws. On the other hand, I think his ethics reform record stands on its own, and the minor ethics questions which have been raised about him don't really detract from that.

P.S. Here's some Obama-bashing that I actually sort of like. It's not anything but a hack job, but at least it's genuinely funny:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/19/opinion/19brooks.html

D. Cupples

Adam,

the only two reports that I saw on the "secret" meetings were on ABC (national) and an ABC affiliate in NC. I hadn't seen the Denver Post's.

I respectfully disagree about the speech-borrowing thing but only because of the context (as I posted about yesterday).

Reader

You really cannot assume that Clinton has been 'vetted' either. There are her husband's own pardons of convicted terrorists prior to her run for the Senate, as well as a possible issue involving her husband's deals with Kazakhstan recently. And as a resident of rural Florida, folks here have in no way forgotten the scandals of the 1990's; there remains an antipathy toward the Clintons that could cost her (don't forget Florida has a marriage amendment on the ballot; this will bring out Conservatives in droves, no matter who the candidate is). I am not laying these at her feet, but if she takes credit for her husband's administration as part of her 'experience,' she has to take the bad with the good.

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